High-ranking government officials said on Wednesday that no executions of drug convicts would take place in the next few months, as the country’s judiciary was still processing their appeals and case reviews.
Attorney General M. Prasetyo said that although all preparations for the drug convicts’ executions had been completed, prosecutors were still waiting for the final verdicts on their appeals.
Prasetyo went on to say that all death-row convicts in the second batch had to be executed simultaneously, including Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines and French inmate Serge Atlaoui, whose case reviews are now being handled by the Supreme Court.
“If they were not executed simultaneously, it would create further problems for us,” Prasetyo said at the State Palace on Wednesday before a Cabinet meeting presided over by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
Prasetyo claimed the AGO had no deadline for the executions, adding that it was waiting for the ongoing legal proceedings to wrap up.
“There are several ongoing legal proceedings. We must wait for them [to reach their conclusion],” he said, adding that the appeals and case reviews included those filed at the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) by two Australian drug smugglers on death row, Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33.
Prasetyo maintained that the executions’ delay was not due to foreign pressure.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla backed up the attorney general’s remarks, saying that the government was unlikely to execute the death-row convicts for weeks or even months, until the courts ruled on their last-minute legal appeals.
Kalla was quoted by Reuters as saying, “We’re waiting for the decision of the courts,” adding that it could take “weeks or months”.
Kalla also said that Indonesia was being especially careful with the legal appeals in light of diplomatic efforts to save the prisoners.
“We will always hear and consider opinions not only from Australia but also France and Brazil,” he said.
“That is why we are very careful in […] following the process of the law,” he explained.
Four death-row inmates have appealed against their sentences after the President rejected their clemency pleas late last year.
Australia has made repeated calls for mercy on behalf of Sukumaran and Chan but Jokowi has refused to budge, turning down offers of a one-off prisoner exchange and to have the Australian government bear the cost of the convicts serving life sentences.
Kalla said relations with Brazil had been harmed and Indonesia was now reviewing all its military contracts with Latin America’s largest economy.
“We’re not reviewing contracts with other countries because Australia and the Netherlands did not harm our diplomatic relations like Brazil,” he said, referring to Brazil’s refusal to let Indonesia’s envoy take part in a ceremony.
Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors in January after Indonesia executed a group of six drug offenders, including citizens of those two countries.
A Brazilian national is also among a second group of 11 prisoners due to be executed. Rodrigo Gularte’s family has pleaded for clemency on the grounds of mental illness.
Others facing imminent execution on the prison island of Nusakambangan include citizens of France, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia.